Consumers Put Their Trust in Tech Companies To Make Self-Driving Cars


  • Toyota Prius Picture

    Toyota Prius Picture

    Consumers say they are more likely to use self-driving cars from tech companies over traditional automakers. | October 11, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Consumers trust technology companies like Google and Apple more than traditional automakers when it comes to building self-driving cars, a new KPMG LLP study reveals.
  • "What came through loud and clear was that technology companies scored highest among consumers in the focus groups," according to the advisory firm.
  • The survey shows technology companies logged a median score of eight on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest level of trust.

DETROIT — Consumers trust technology companies like Google and Apple more than automakers when it comes to building self-driving cars, a new KPMG LLP study reveals.

More than 100 years of manufacturing prowess isn't enough for traditional automakers to win over tech-conscious buyers. The survey shows technology companies logged a median score of eight on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest level of trust. Premium auto brands, however, received a score of 7.75, while mass-market brands received a score of five.

Google has been a pioneer in the driverless car race by logging thousands of miles in California and Nevada with an autonomous Toyota Prius. A Google YouTube video of its self-driving Prius with a blind man behind the wheel debuted last year and has since accumulated nearly 5 million views.

Apple recently assembled an automotive development group to study connected cars and autonomous technology as well.

But automakers aren't conceding defeat. They continue to make strides with their own autonomous lineup. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has said he wants a fully driverless car on sale by 2020. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche showed off his company's progress by rolling into the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany last month in the backseat of a driverless Mercedes S-Class.

Despite the revelation, drivers remain skeptical. Nine of 10 say a driver still should be at the wheel, according to last month's survey by ORC International for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Only a third admitted they'd be willing to buy a self-driving car.

"As cars evolve to become more highly complex computers that provide mobility, it's not far-fetched to imagine a day where our next cars are purchased from high-tech companies," said Gary Silberg, national automotive industry leader for KPMG, in a statement. "We believe that self-driving cars will be profoundly disruptive to the traditional automotive ecosystem. Ultimately, the shape of the automotive future will depend on consumers — their needs, preferences, fears — and their pocketbooks."

The KPMG survey is derived from focus groups in Los Angeles, Chicago and Iselin, New Jersey.

Edmunds says: Would you prefer your self-driving car to come from your favorite tech company?

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